The Cable Company Offers a Headphone Lending Library
Wow! What a refreshing read!
A little blurb bubbled up in my in-box: "The Cable Company's Headphone Initiative." Wut? I've long been aware and an admirer of The Cable Company's cable lending program, and have contacted them on numerous occasions for advice on cables. Their guidance has always been even-handed and satisfyingly accurate...to my ears, anyway. But what the heck? Headphones? Really?
I followed the link in the email to their newsletter page titled "The Cable Company's Headphone Initiative." I could hardly believe my eyes, the copy was accurate, informed...heck, it was even meaningful to a headphone geek like me. When did The Cable Company get so headphone-wise? I gave them a call.
Cheerfully greeted by a nice lady, she quickly transferred me to their headphone specialist.
"Hi, this is Ethan."
"Hi, Ethan. My name is Tyll, I'm the editor at InnerFidelity. Have you heard of it?"
"Well, duh, this is Ethan, Tyll. Ethan Wood."
"Ha! How you doin' buddy!"
I've known Ethan for...well, I don't know how long, a decade minimum. He's a long, long time headphone geek, and a guy I've had the pleasure to hang with at meets and yabber with on the forums. Don't know how I missed the fact that he's working at The Cable Company now, but there isn't a doubt in my mind that he's well beyond qualified for the task of giving great headphone advice and leading the charge on their new headphone lending program.
How Does it Work?
Ethan recognized that the typical trajectory of a headphone enthusiast's exploration is to read about various cans on Head-Fi.org; then buy a pair; then find it's not quite what they want; then sell them (at a loss); rinse and repeat...over and over and over until satisfied. Alternatively, the enthusiast will buy second hand in the forum classifieds to reduce losses, but the process remains laborious and fraught with unknowns about the condition of second hand cans. Either way, the typical headphone geek goes through a fair bit of time and money hunting down a headphone that will personally satisfy.
To try to make this process less painful, The Cable Company decided to emulate their now 20-year-old cable lending program. Here's how it works: You pay the shipping to and from. You pay a non-refundable 5% fee, which accrues towards any purchase (not just headphones) you would like to make--and which helps makes sure the participants aren't just tire kickers. The loan is scheduled so that you will have two weekends in your evaluation period. The offer is available to U.S. customers only.
The Cable Company has begun stocking up on a variety of the very best headphones available for the program. Here's the list of their initial offerings. Ethan assures me more models will be arriving soon. If it were me, I'd borrow the Audeze LCD-2 and HiFiMAN HE-500 (should be available for loan soon) and the Burson amp for some nice listening sessions, but I already have that stuff here at home. And now you can, too: contact The Cable Company here.